Ask Anna Pearl – Meal Planning 101 What Do You Like To Eat?

Every family has their favorite meals to eat. These favorites can vary for various reasons. Some of reasons may be regional, family tradition, and personal needs.

* Regional – If your family lives on the Northeast Atlantic shore, perhaps Lobster Bisque is a family favorite. Maybe a Cheese Beefsteak sandwich is your cup of tea in Philadelphia. Tex Mex Chili just might be called for in San Antonia. Whatever the region, you are going to want to include those regional favorites into your meal planning.

* Family Traditions – My maternal grandmother was Norwegian. Many of the recipes that she taught my Mother where traditional foods from the Bergen, Norway area. They are very popular meals in our home. Everyone has those family recipes that have been passed down for generations.

* Personal Needs – There are often personal needs that need to be taken into consideration when planning meals. Food allergies are an excellent example of personal needs. If someone in your family is allergic to milk, you are going to have to plan for lactose free alternative for this person. There may one family member that can not tolerate the taste of liver and onions. (Myself included) Plan accordingly so the rest of the family that loves liver and onions doesn’t have to suffer?

With these things taken into consideration, here is your challenge for today:

Make a list of your 14 to 21 favorite meals. Use pretty paper and your very best handwriting. If you are able, laminate this list and put it on your refrigerater.

According to, “The beauty of turning it into a list is that when you sit down to plan, you don’t have to wrack your brain thinking “Now what do we like to eat??”. You glance at your list and start slotting things into your plan. Bada bing, bada boom.”

(BTW, has a bootcamp on meal planning that totally rocks!)

On Friday, we will start the meal planning process!! You do not want to miss this one.

Anna Pearl~

Ask Anna Pearl – Meal Planning 101 – WHAT DO YOU ALREADY HAVE?

One of the major parts of an effective meal planning program is proper grocery shopping habits. The goal of of meal planning is to save money, time, and to provide healthy meals to your family. One way to start at accomplishing theses goals is to determine what food and supplies your currently have in your pantry.

Your challange for today is to clean out and inventory your pantry, fridge and freezer. Throw away any food that is too old to be eaten. Put away the guilt for having wasted this food. If you follow your plan, this is the last time you will have to do this!

As you clean, inventory the items that you have. Make a comprehensive list of all food, spices, and food storage supplies. Include how much of each item is in the container. For example, Under Spices Heading, I would write Nutmeg: 1/4 container.

When you are all finished with the list, attach it to your refrigerator. You will use this when you are grocery shop in the future.

On, Tuesday, we will consider what you family likes to eat.

Anna Pearl ~

Ask Anna Pearl – Meal Planning 101 – WHY Are You Planning?

vegNow that we have determined the Where and the When of your future Meal Planning Program, we need to decide WHY you need to plan. What is your motivation behind taking on this project?
* Do you need to stretch your families grocery budget out as far as you can?
Meal planning has shown to reduce food waste. The Natural Resource Defense Council has found that Americans throw away 25% of their groceries. Not only is this a sad waste of food, it costs a family of four $1400 to $2300 per year! (
Meal Planning prevents the “What’s for Dinner? question at the end of a busy day. When you aren’t prepared, you are more apt to grab the kids and your keys and head to the nearest fast food establishment.
* Are you a busy working parent who needs to save time?
According to Toby Smithson, “Some people do not realize that menu planning is a time saver. It takes longer to try and figure out what to serve your family if you haven’t planned ahead and had the forethought to shop for the ingredients, so they are readily available in your house. When you plan a menu, you have a grocery list completed, too.” Smithson is the spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics in Chicago.
* Are you trying to bring healthier food choices to your family?
Planning your meals before you shop is a good way to avoid impulse buys that may include unhealthy food. Everyone knows the old saying, “Never grocery shop when you are hungry.” Being tired or stressed applies in this situation.
Meal planning invites the planner to take the time to find new and healthy recipes that include better food choices. This is a good opportunity to introduce children to different tastes and textures.
These are just three of the possible WHY’s for Meal Planning. What is your WHY? Once you determine your WHY, write it down on your planning medium….notebook, whiteboard, electronic. It is important to your future success to remember why you want to do this project.
On Friday, we will start taking inventory and listing favorites!!! This is the fun part!!
Anna Pearl~

Ask Anna Pearl – Meal Planning 101 – Decide Best Time to Plan

Decide when is the best time to do your meal planning.

* Monthly Planning – Will you plan your February meals on the 15th of January so that you have enough time to grocery shop for those first meals of the month?

* Weekly Planning – Pick a day that isn’t crazy! We all have thone days in the week that are a little more chill than the rest of the week. Reserve a half hour on that day to plan out your meals for the week.

* Daily Planning – this just takes a few minutes. It consists of preparation of ingredients for the days meals. This is best done in the morning. Will you do it as soon as you get up? Before the kids get up? Will you do it the night before?

Meal Planning is all about….Well, Planning! You have to plan when you are going to plan!


Will you do it early in the morning or during your lunch break? How about in the evening after the kids have gone to bed? Hubbie will be glued to the tube….Go for it!

* Very Important Tip – Every plan has an evil force working against it. This force wants to stop the plan from working. Sometimes the evil force wins the fight. Just because you lost the battle, does not mean you surrender the WAR! No one is perfect. Make intentional choices. Do your best to stick by your choice. If it doesn’t work, re-plan.

Do Not Let the Evil Meal Planning Force Take You Down. Good Will Overcome Evil!!

Anna Pearl

Ask Anna Pearl – Meal Planning 101 – Meal Planning Methods

Last week, we talked about the two things you need to decide when you are starting a meal planning program. Today, we are going to discuss which planning method that would work best for your family.

Let’s break it down into three methods: electronic, paper or a whiteboard.

•Are you the family that sits around the living room and everyone is on their phone or computer? If a question needs to be asked and answered, are you more likely to get an answer if you email or text it? If this is your family, you might want to look at an electronic meal planning program. Some programs are very comprehensive and offer lots of perks. Here’s a link to a cool blog that lists 5 free Meal Planning Apps.…/meal-planning-apps-that-make-…


Other options are to use Google Calendar or the calendar on your smart phone.

•Are you already using a paper planner, a binder, or a regular old notepad to do your daily planning? Train your family to go to the notebook on the desk to see “What’s for Dinner” instead of asking you 100 times a week! Many planner fillers have meal planning and grocery shopping sheets included. I like

•Is your family more of a visual type of folks. Do they need to see it to believe it? A whiteboard in your kitchen is probably the best method to choose. This is also a good method for the creative, right brained meal planner that might want to draw a little chicken leg next to the night they are making Fried Chicken.

Now that you have the three method to start planning, choose which one is best for you and your family. Time to go shopping! Let us know if you need help on the shopping part! We are pretty good at that!

On Friday, we will discuss how to choose the best time to do your meal planning. A hint? You will need to think of the best time to do Monthly, Weekly, and Daily planning.

Anna Pearl

Anna Pearl’s Homestead

Welcome to Anna Pearl’s Homestead!  Our family owns a small cattle/sheep operation in Southwest Wyoming.  We raise Red Angus Cows and Columbia Sheep. We have been living the homesteading/ranching lifestyle for all of our lives.  From lambing and calving to cleaning out the chicken coop, we have done it.  We’ve canned wild meat and fished for wild trout.  Building a fence or fixing a tractor is everyday work for us.  On top of all that, we both hold down full time jobs outside of the homestead.

I am Anna Pearl’s Granddaughter.  She was a beautiful Norwegian woman, who has inspired me every day of my life.  In an effort to keep her alive in my mind and to the world, I have taken on her name as my pen name.  Hence the name of the blog, hence the name of my business,

My husband has lived on the ranch for his whole life.  He is a carpenter by trade.  However, as his career has progressed, he has moved into management of several of our local county facilities.  For the sake of identification in this blog, we shall call him The Rancher.  He doesn’t like to write much.  He doesn’t like to have his picture taken.  He really doesn’t like that I write about him or put his picture the blog.  I do it anyway.

Welcome to our readers from  We hope you will follow us on our new blog.  We will be continuing the Fence Post with a View Series that was so popular on our former blog.  Lots of new features are in store.

We look forward to getting to know you!

Anna Pearl ~